Snowdonia – Work has halted at an archaeological dig in North Wales following the discovery of an early example of computing equipment on Thursday afternoon.
The ‘Dolgellau Environs Project’ has been investigating the post glacial archaeology of Snowdonia National Park for the past four years with a team of volunteer, amateur diggers supervised by a team from University of Wales, Aber-Harlech University. However work on a small scale excavation near Llanberis came to a halt when a volunteer made a remarkable discovery.
Digger, Rhianon Davies said: “It was my second day on site, I was working with my trowel when I struck something hard. At first, I thought it was just another stone but it wasn’t.”
Rhianon had uncovered an early electronic data storage device, a hard drive disk. The jaw dropping find left the team from Aber-Harlech scratching their heads and soon they were contacting their colleagues at the department of Computer Science.
“The importance of this find cannot be understated,” said Professor Ryan Williams, reader of Computer Science at A-HU. “The technology is unmistakable. The platters or disks are made from local slate contained within an iron housing.”
“The wonderful preservation of the find means that any data stored on the device may be recoverable.”
Archaeologists have tentatively dated the find to around AD100, the beginning of the Roman period in Britain. Excavations have resumed on-site in an effort to recover the rest of any machine which may be present.
“When you dig up a piece of hitherto unknown technology and you’re the first person in 2,000 years to have seen it… it’s what we all live for,” said Dr Geriet Jones, the head of the Dolgellau Environs Project.
“Some Newspapers are already calling this Boudica’s PC, running ‘Windows Barbarian Edition’, “added Professor Williams. “However, frankly this is certain to have performed better than anything which ran Windows Millennium Edition!”
Excavations near Llanberis are set to continue throughout the Summer.
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